Shinya Aoki put the ONE Championship lightweight title on the line Friday against Koji Ando in Kallang, Singapore, and the incumbent champion came out on top in a thrilling main event at ONE Championship 27: Warrior's Quest.
While the card was certainly highlighted by Aoki's victory, it was far from a one-fight show. Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke became the first strawweight champion in ONE Championship history in the co-main event, while Angela Lee made an explosive debut in the women's division.
Warrior's Quest featured several close contests that went down to the wire, but it also packed plenty of punch on the undercard with some exciting knockout and submission finishes.
With ONE Championship 27 officially in the books, here is a look at the results from all 10 fights on the card, including Aoki's impressive defense.
|ONE Championship 27: Warrior's Quest Results|
|Lightweight||Shinya Aoki||Koji Ando||Unanimous Decision|
|Strawweight||Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke||Roy Doliguez||Technical Decision (Unanimous)|
|Featherweight||Marat Gafurov||Ev Ting||First-Round Submission|
|Lightweight||Lowen Tynanes||Kuat Khamitov||Unanimous Decision|
|Lightweight||Ariel Sexton||Eddie Ng||Second-Round Submission|
|Featherweight||Shannon Wiratchai||Amir Khan||Split Decision|
|Women's Strawweight||Angela Lee||Aya Saeid Saber||First-Round Submission|
|Bantamweight||Heili Alateng||Stephen Langdown||Second-Round TKO|
|Featherweight||Benedict Ang||Waqar Umar||Unanimous Decision|
|Flyweight||Jianbing Yang||Ali Yaakub||Second-Round Submission|
Shinya Aoki vs. Koji Ando
|Lightweight||Shinya Aoki||Koji Ando||Unanimous Decision||5||5:00|
Aoki hasn't lost a fight since getting knocked out by Eddie Alvarez at Bellator 66 in 2012, and his three-year undefeated streak continued Friday by virtue of a unanimous-decision win over Koji Ando at ONE Championship 27: Warrior's Quest.
Tobikan Judan retained the ONE Championship lightweight title in the process and improved his career record to 38-6 in the process. The 32-year-old star from Japan was in control from start to finish as he kept Ando grounded and prevented him from mounting any sustained offense.
The fight got off to a bizarre start as Aoki and Ando were rushed to the ring following the strawweight title fight, which Jordan Breen of Sherdog.com believes had something to do with ONE wanting to avoid pay-per-view overrun:
Jordan Breen @jordanbreen
Given how hurried Hume was in the postfight and how quick they're running Ando-Aoki out here, I think One are worried about running too long2015-5-22 15:35:42
Once things got going, though, Aoki was on cruise control. The fight played out like the bulk of his contests tend to, but Ando simply didn't have the ability to stop him, per freelance MMA journalist James Goyder:
James Goyder @JamesGoyder
It's one thing knowing what Shinya Aoki is going to do, it's another thing actually being able to stop him from doing it.2015-5-22 15:44:55
The only thing Aoki was unable to do was stop the fight early. It wasn't for a lack of trying, however, as he very nearly locked in a submission in the latter stages of the bout, according to MMA Latest:
MMA Latest @MMALatestNws
Aoki attempts armbar with 30 seconds to go. Ando holds on for dear life and saved by the bell. Aoki ahead on scorecards. #LiveTweet2015-5-22 15:58:01
It went to the scorecards, but the result was elementary by that point since Aoki quite clearly won all five rounds.
In the wake of such a dominant showing, the focus shifts toward what is next for Aoki. There has been some speculation about him moving on to a higher-profile promotion, but he indicated that he is enjoying his time with ONE, per Mike Bohn of MMAJunkie.com: "I'm not sure about the future, and I don't really think about it to be honest. I'm happy here with ONE Championship, and I'll gladly fight and defend my ONE Lightweight world championship title against anyone they have for me."
Ando was one of the best lightweight opponents ONE had to offer Aoki, but it was clear from the very start that the challenger simply wasn't in the champion's league.
Aoki entered Warrior's Quest as the class of ONE Championship, and that will continue to be the case until someone manages to give him trouble.
Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke vs. Roy Doliguez
|Strawweight||Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke||Roy Doliguez||Technical Decision (Unanimous)||5||---|
In the first of two title fights on the ONE Championship: Warrior's Quest card, Amnuaysirichoke scored the biggest victory of his young MMA career over Thai martial artist Roy Doliguez by technical unanimous decision following a fifth-round headbutt to become the first strawweight champion in the history of ONE Championship.
DSA is already a titleholder after five professional fights, which is extremely impressive. Perhaps even more shocking than that, though, is the fact that it has been only 16 months since he began his MMA training, according to Goyder:
James Goyder @JamesGoyder
Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke didn't start training MMA until January 2014, in 2015 he just became the @ONEFCMMA champion2015-5-22 15:30:11
The 36-year-old star fought like a savvy veteran, though, and his Filipino opponent was never able to get into any sort of rhythm. Doliguez fell to 6-2 with the loss, and it is difficult to imagine him getting another crack at the strawweight title in the immediate future.
Amnuaysirichoke is a true natural as an MMA fighter, and it is clear after Friday's victory that it will take a special talent to wrestle the title away from him.
Ev Ting vs. Marat Gafurov
|Featherweight||Marat Gafurov||Ev Ting||Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)||1||4:30|
Marat Gafurov entered his bout with Ev Ting as a fairly substantial favorite Friday by virtue of his perfect record, and the 30-year-old Russian certainly didn't disappoint as he improved to 11-0 by making quick work of his Malaysian adversary.
Gafurov is something of a submission specialist, and The Cobra lived up to that reputation by forcing Ting to tap out to a rear-naked choke in the first round.
After such an easy and dominant showing, SJ Rivers of LastWordOnSports.com couldn't help but be impressed:
Friday marked Gafurov's second ONE Championship fight after taking M-1 Global by storm, and those in charge of the promotion would be wise to elevate his status after another big win.
If Gafurov continues to fight at this level, then it is likely only a matter of time before he competes for and wins the featherweight title.
Lowen Tynanes vs. Kuat Khamitov
|Lightweight||Lowen Tynanes||Kuat Khamitov||Unanimous Decision||3||5:00|
In a fight that seemingly never exited the feeling-out stages, Lowen Tynanes defeated Kuat Khamitov by unanimous decision.
Tynanes, a native of Hawaii, was on the attack for much of the contest, while his opponent from Kazakhstan constantly backpedaled. According to Goyder, Tynanes never deviated from the blueprint he created to defeat Khamitov:
James Goyder @JamesGoyder
This isn't the most entertaining of matches but Tynanes is fighting very smart, he came in with a good gameplan and he has stuck to it2015-5-22 14:09:50
It was ultimately highly effective as there was no real debate about who won the fight when it went to the scorecards. Tynanes is now 7-0, and after beating a fighter that has 18 career wins to his credit, the Hawaiian looks very much like a potential star in ONE Championship.
Eddie Ng vs. Ariel Sexton
|Lightweight||Ariel Sexton||Eddie Ng||Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)||2||1:10|
After a year away from the cage, Eddie "The Magician" Ng returned to action Friday against Ariel Sexton. Unfortunately for the native of Hong Kong, his initial comeback bid was unsuccessful as Sexton scored a second-round submission victory.
The 33-year-old veteran from Costa Rica secured the 10th win of his career with a snug rear-naked choke that Ng was unable to escape.
For Tarzan, it was his fifth win in six fights, while Ng has now dropped two in a row. It wasn't long ago that he was considered a contender for the ONE Championship lightweight title, but now, he will have to go back to the drawing board.
Sexton is the one who is now on the ascent, and it may not be long before he gets a shot at the belt.
Amir Khan vs. Shannon Wiratchai
|Featherweight||Shannon Wiratchai||Amir Khan||Split Decision||3||5:00|
The featherweight showdown between Amir Khan and Shannon Wiratchai was not only one of the most entertaining fights on the entire Warrior's Quest card, but it was also arguably the most closely contested one.
Both combatants had their moments throughout the three-round fight, but in the end, it was determined that Wiratchai did enough in the first two rounds to earn a split-decision victory.
The 20-year-old Khan made a run in the third round, but it ultimately wasn't enough to get past his older and more experienced opponent from Thailand. With this win, One Shin is now 4-1, and he may very well have earned himself an even higher-profile fight at the next ONE Championship event.
Angela Lee vs. Aya Saeid Saber
|Women's Strawweight||Angela Lee||Aya Saeid Saber||Submission (Armbar)||1||1:43|
On a card that featured several professional debuts, none was more impressive than that of Angela Lee as she made quick work of Aya Saeid Saber in a women's strawweight clash.
The 18-year-old from Hawaii took charge from the opening bell and channeled her inner Ronda Rousey by making her Egyptian counterpart tap to an armbar in less than two minutes.
According to Breen, Lee certainly looked the part of a dominant fighter by having her way with Saber:
Jordan Breen @jordanbreen
Angela Lee looked like a complete badass wrecking Aya Saeid Saber. Only 18, and she dribbled Saber's head AI3 style from knee-on-belly. +1002015-5-22 12:52:13
With women's MMA reaching incredible levels of popularity, Lee is hitting the professional scene at the right time. If she can continue to turn in performances like the one she did Friday, then a rise to stardom could be in the offing.
Stephen Langdown vs. Heili Alateng
|Bantamweight||Heili Alateng||Stephen Langdown||TKO (Punches and Soccer Kicks)||2||0:52|
In the final contest on the preliminary card, a pair of intriguing fighters did battle in Stephen Langdown and Heili Alateng. It looked like an even fight on paper, but that ultimately wasn't the case as Alateng won decisively.
The Chinese star showed no mercy against his Singapore-born opponent as he unleashed an array of soccer kicks that ultimately led to a second-round knockout.
As pointed out by Goyder, Langdown simply wasn't equipped to deal with the flurry that was thrown his way:
James Goyder @JamesGoyder
That was a bit brutal, I think Langdown has potential but Alateng is on a completely different level in term of experience.2015-5-22 12:13:14
Alateng improved to 4-3 with the win, and while his overall record isn't impressive, his showing at Warrior's Quest suggests that the best is yet to come for him.
Benedict Ang vs. Waqar Umar
|Featherweight||Benedict Ang||Waqar Umar||Unanimous Decision||3||5:00|
Benedict Ang entered Friday's event with huge expectations hanging over his head in his professional debut. He managed to live up to them, though, by defeating Waqar Umar by unanimous decision in what was a fairly one-sided fight.
Ahead of his first pro bout, the 19-year-old from Singapore made it clear that he intended to leave it all out in the Octagon, according to Evolve Daily: "I've come this far and all I want to do is make my supporters proud, no matter what happens."
There is no question that Ang validated all of the hard work that he has put in to this point, and he also set the stage for what figures to be a long and prosperous MMA career.
Ali Yaakub vs. Jianbing Yang
|Flyweight||Jianbing Yang||Ali Yaakub||Submission (Armbar)||2||0:49|
The opening bout of the card featured a pair of relative unknowns in a flyweight clash. Ali Yaakub entered the fight looking for his first career victory, but he didn't get it as Jianbing Yang improved to 4-0 with an armbar submission in the second round.
The Malaysian underdog was never able to get anything going as Yang immediately took him down in the second round and worked him over before finally locking in the decisive move. With that, the 21-year-old native of China came away with a victory in impressive fashion.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.